Is the leader partyless?

05/06/2013

Speaker David Carter has written to Peter Dunne asking him about his status as party leader now United Future has been deregistered.

Mr Carter said that, for the first time, a party that is recognised under standing orders has ceased to be registered under the Electoral Act.

He told the House on Wednesday that where public funds are involved, there needs to be certainty about the arrangements behind a party that seeks to be recognised for Parliamentary purposes. . .

If the party is deregistered is it still a party for parliamentary purposes?

If not, if the leader is partyless is he still a leader?

 


Word of the day

05/06/2013

Sedulously –  involving or accomplished with careful perseverance; diligent or persevering and constant in effort or application; assiduous; carefully maintained.


Rural round-up

05/06/2013

Hepatitis A outbreak linked to Oregon berry farm – Mary Clare Jalonick:

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to a frozen organic berry mix sold by an Oregon company.

The FDA and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 30 illnesses are linked to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, which contains pomegranate seed mix. Illnesses were reported in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.

Several of those who fell ill reported buying the berry mix at Costco, according to CDC. A Costco spokesman said Friday that the company has removed the product from stores and is attempting to contact members who purchased the product in recent months. . .

Research shows importance of dairy

New consumer research shows 72% of Asians think dairy is an important part of a balanced diet.

However, the research also shows fewer than half the 9000 people surveyed in nine countries are eating every day.

Fonterra strategy director Maury Leyland said the results clearly demonstrate growing awareness of the importance of dairy nutrition across the region and the opportunity this presents to the New Zealand dairy industry. . .

High quality tipped for bumper olive harvest – Peter Watson:

It’s a nervous time for Nelson olive growers as they try to beat the onset of winter, and the birds, to harvest what is expected to be a record crop.

Ideally, Peter Coubrough wanted to wait a couple of weeks before starting picking on his small grove on the Waimea estuary near Mapua to allow further ripening and get the oil percentage up, but he was unwilling to take that risk and lose a heavy crop.

“The weather hasn’t been as warm and sunny as we would have hoped.

“If we don’t get the fruit off now it will either get frosted or the birds will get it,” he said as the pickers arrived last week to begin work at Frog’s End Estate. . .

Vital investment tool developed for wood processors:

A major study report released by the Wood Council highlights the need for by-products from established industries like sawmilling if New Zealand is to develop profitable businesses based on emerging technologies, like bio-fuels and bio-chemicals.

The WoodScape study is the result of collaboration between the forest and wood products industry, the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries and NZ Trade and Enterprise, which together funded the project.

Crown Research Institute Scion, in partnership with FP Innovations and the Wood Council, evaluated wood processing investment opportunities in a New Zealand setting. . .

Fertiliser company seeking $10m for phosphate project:

Chatham Rock Phosphate is going to the public for the first time to raise up to $10 million, to help fund it through to the start of mining in 2015.

The fertiliser company said the public offer aims to raise $4 million with the ability to accept oversubscriptions of a further $6 million.

The offer will consist of new ordinary shares at an issue price of 35 cents per share with one option attached to every three shares issued. . .

Reaping rewards of hard work – Rebecca Harper:

There seem to have been a rash of farming awards handed out recently – perhaps it’s the season for it.

As a first-time attendee at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, they were extremely impressive.

The awards, held at the TSB Arena in Wellington, ran like a well-oiled machine. It was a most professional and well-attended black-tie event.

The evening reflected the pride in the dairying industry and the esteem the awards are held in. There was truly the cream of the crop in the room.

And for an industry that pulls in a huge chunk of the country’s wealth, it was great to see its top achievers given the credit they are due, in the capital city. . .

Russell McVeagh and Fonterra scoop up ALB Law Awards:

Fonterra’s Trading Among Farmers transaction, completed in November 2012, was one of the big winners at this year’s ALB Australasian Law Awards. The transaction won New Zealand Deal of the Year and the IPO of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund won the Equity Deal of the Year Award, an Australasian-wide category. Russell McVeagh acted as the principal legal advisors to Fonterra from the beginning of the transaction in 2010 to its completion.

The firm would like to congratulate the Fonterra legal team, which also won the New Zealand In-house Team of the Year Award in recognition of their outstanding hard work and achievement. . .

New agriculture vehicle regulations:

New rules for agricultural vehicles came into force on June 1 with rural contractors – and farmers –being encouraged to familiarise themselves with these changes.

Rural Contractors New Zealand – the national association and the leading advocate for rural contractors in New Zealand – executive director Roger Parton says the new rules offer agricultural vehicle owners improved compliance and greater operational flexibility. He says Rural Contractors NZ has worked collaboratively with Ministry of Transport, NZTA and NZ Police to develop them.

“These changes are a long time coming and have resulted in rules that are easy to understand, comply with and enforce,” Roger Parton adds. “These changes recognise the unique operating characteristics and environment that agricultural vehicles require to travel on the road.” . . .


LabourGreen power play flaws exposed

05/06/2013

Electricity Authority chair Brent Layton has exposed the LabourGreen power play flaws.

He agrees with other experts who say their plan will lead to blackouts, less investment in renewable power projects and shrink the New Zealand economy.

He says the cost of a regulator transferring wealth under such a centralised power-buyer proposal would have a “chilling effect” on investment, which is likely to be “large, widespread and long-lived”.

“Either the government will be forced to build future plants, and many other assets, or shortages of electricity and other services will be likely.”

The authority is an independent Crown entity tasked with ensuring the efficient operation of the New Zealand electricity market, promoting industry competition “for the long-term benefit of consumers”.

Dr Layton, a former New Zealand Institute of Economic Research chief executive, says a centralised power buyer would require a large bureaucracy and an “army” of generator staff supported by consultants.

“Given the inefficiencies of the central decision-maker arrangement, the result will be to shrink the size of the New Zealand economy because more resources would be needed to operate the market than under the current arrangements for a less efficient outcome.” . . .

. . .Dr Layton says this “pay-as-offered” model will lead to either increased inefficient spilling of renewable energy from hydro-electric dams or severe constraint on further investment in renewable generation projects, “even if it would be efficient to do so”.

“The authority does not believe this outcome would be of long-term benefit to consumers.”

He also busts the myth hydro-electricity generators are earning super-profits because their fuel – water – is free. Rather, it is offset by the cost of capital to build dams, he says.

Dr Layton says claims there is a price-fixing cartel by generators have been investigated by the Commerce Commission and has resulted in no prosecutions. . .

Who has more credibility:

The man who heads the organisation tasked with ensuring the efficient operation of the New Zealand electricity market, promoting industry competition “for the long-term benefit of consumers”.

Or political parties who think politicians and bureaucrats know more than the market?


Milk price down 5.3% in GDT auction

05/06/2013

The trade weighted price of mik dropped 5.3% in his morning’s GlobablDairyTrade auction.

The price of anhydrous mik fat dropped 4.3%; butter was down 2.6%; butter milk increased 3.3%; skim milk powder was down 3.1% and wholemilk powder dropped 7.1%.

 


Private = cheapest free education

05/06/2013

Public funding of private schools is a regular left-wing gripe.

It’s also one where the criticism isn’t supported by the facts as Bill English explained:

The Labour Party has never understood that every New Zealand child, by right of birth, has a right to a free education, and the money paid to private schools represents the cheapest free education that the Government can procure, because it pays only about 30 percent of the entitlement that every child has. Why does the Labour Party believe that some New Zealanders are not entitled to free education?

My farmer and I went to state schools and so did our daughter.

But some people choose to send their children to private schools for a variety of reasons.

Given that saves the state money I don’t have a problem with the government paying private schools some of what they’d have to pay if the children were at state schools.

Would Labour prefer the more expensive option of paying 100% of the cost for every child?


Perfect storm shows sheepmeat challenges

05/06/2013

A report from Rabobank shows the challenges facing the sheep industry:

The New Zealand sheepmeat industry has been riding a ‘rollercoaster of returns’ in recent years, according to agribusiness banking specialist, Rabobank. A perfect storm of high supply, strong local currency and weak consumer demand has reduced returns and some key challenges must be addressed in order to secure a prosperous future for the sector.

In its recently released report ‘Sheepmeat – riding the rollercoaster of returns’ reviewing the sheepmeat sectors in New Zealand and Australia, Rabobank says in order to capitalise as conditions improve in established export markets, the sector will need to retain sufficient scale and market presence relative to competing meats.

Rabobank CEO New Zealand Ben Russell says the industry has experienced extreme volatility in returns throughout the value chain, and that is likely to continue with an expected supply shortfall looming in the coming season.

“The New Zealand sheep flock has been declining in size for many years with the drought and lower prices last season likely to see that trend continue next year,” he said.

“The shrinking flock has created structural over-capacity that will need to be addressed, however there are risks and practical challenges in achieving this that need to be carefully considered by processing companies.

“Ultimately the path to greater industry prosperity and growth is creating more value for consumers and a more efficient supply chain, including on-farm, procurement, processing and marketing.”

Better returns for sheep farmers depend not just on better prices for meat, it requires better returns for by-products including wool.

New Zealand’s sheep industry started to produce wool. The introduction of refrigeration enabled meat to be exported too but wool was still an important part of sheep farmers’ incomes.

Two or three seasons ago strong wool prices were reasonable but they’re fallen away again and that is one of the reasons sheep farmers’ incomes have slumped.

Notwithstanding the challenges facing the sheepmeat industry, Mr Russell says Rabobank remains enthusiastic about the long-term potential for the sector in New Zealand, and working alongside its clients throughout the supply chain to capitalise on future opportunities.

Report author, Rabobank animal proteins analyst Matt Costello says that, given the sector’s exposure to and reliance on export markets, and the fact that sheepmeat is a higher valued product, the sheepmeat industry is dependent on the economic environment and consumers in these markets.

“Market demand for sheepmeat has been subdued as a result of higher prices and fragile economies, especially in Europe, whereas Asia and the Middle East have emerged as stronger markets and should be cultivated,” he says.

“With an improving outlook in some of the lucrative sheepmeat export markets and with the optimism surrounding the potential of developing markets such as China – New Media Release June 3, 2013 2
Zealand and Australia will be the only countries positioned to supply consumers around the world.

“It is increasingly important that the sheepmeat sector retains significant scale and market presence in comparison to competing meats to remain viable and capitalise on the longer-term growth opportunities.”

Part of the problem in New Zealand isn’t competition from other meats in export markets, it’s competition for land from dairying.

Dairy returns are better and improving which has pushed up farm prices. Growing demand for milk can support the increase in prices, volatile returns for sheepmeat can’t.

The big ‘dip’

The Rabobank report finds that the variation in returns for sheepmeat producers and exporters over the past few years has been significant, with “unprecedented” volatility.

Mr Costello says there is a lack of confidence among producers across the sheepmeat industries in both countries.

“The extreme high and low points over the past few years have not helped anyone, only serving to add to frustration and disillusionment,” he says.

“In simple terms, historically tight supply from both New Zealand and Australia underpinned the initial surge in livestock prices during 2010 and 2011, and the ensuing weak prices through 2012 and 2013 have been driven by higher short-term production due to the extremely dry conditions across both countries.”

While tighter supply in 2013/14 will assist to firm pricing over the coming year, a more sustainable market recovery will need to be driven by improved consumer demand and ultimately a more buoyant global economy.

Sheepmeat isn’t a traditional food in many parts of the world but the demand for protein from developing countries might help that.

Emerging markets

Globally, rising prices have been met by stubborn consumers in the major sheepmeat export markets of the EU, UK and the US. The emergence of developing markets throughout Asia and the Middle East has helped to offset the declines in volumes and, to a lesser extent, returns from the traditional export markets.

Not only is weak consumer demand impacting returns for the industry currently, but a persistently high exchange rate has also been challenging both countries.

Even with a slight fall in recent weeks, the prolonged high dollar in both New Zealand and Australia has been pressuring competitiveness in the global market, resulting in substitution and weaker export demand for sheepmeat, the Rabobank report says.
China, the report says, is a good example of the emerging market demand for sheepmeat.

Mr Costello says China became the largest single sheepmeat export market for New Zealand in 2012, surpassing the UK for the first time ever. Furthermore, China is now Australia’s largest sheepmeat export destination. Media Release June 3, 2013 3
“The emergence of China has seen a much greater utilisation of the whole carcass as demand has grown for items that were once rendered or offloaded at a discount and sheepmeat demand is expected to grow as affluence continues to increase,” Mr Costello says.

Utilisation of the whole carcass helps returns.

If only we could persuade the Chinese to embrace wool as well . . .


CPW negotiates Lake Coleridge storage

05/06/2013

Central Plains Water Ltd (CPWL) has signed an historic agreement with TrustPower to store water in Lake Coleridge for use by its shareholders when the Rakaia River flow is low.

Doug Catherwood, chair of CPWL, in announcing the agreement said he was unaware of any other storage facility offering to release contracted water on demand in New Zealand.

“We have to book the volume a year in advance but TrustPower will release it with about a day’s notice,” he said.

The agreement follows months of discussion and has been made possible by the Government’s decision to alter the Conservation Order covering the river and lake.

“This is another big step forward for us. Lake Coleridge is an existing reservoir, and at this early stage the Coleridge Storage will support Stage 1 at least of the CPW Scheme, which involves water supply to 20,000 hectares of farming land,” Catherwood said.

TrustPower would provide 95% reliability for the scheme for Stage 1, he said. Before the agreement was signed, CPW was able to offer only 70% reliability with the run of river supply.

“This is good news for us. Ninety-five per cent reliability is virtually water every day for farmers. This is a real alternative to our own water storage reservoir.”

There is potential for more stored water to be available for future stages of the CPWL Scheme.

“Research will need to be conducted before we can be assured on the reliability of the next tranche of water. We now know the reliability will be considerable and well worth pursuing. This will constitute the next phase of our discussions.”

Catherwood said having reliable alpine water was key for the viability of CPWL.

The positive impact meant that current ground water users who are pumping from up to 200m wouldswitch to surface water, releasing the pressure on the over allocated ground water usage, enabling the aquifers to be replenished and increase the environmental flows in the lowland streams.

“As our construction proceeds over the next couple of years, we will provide equal reliability for the coming stages of the CPW, without compromising environmental concerns for the river and the lake.”

The first stage of the irrigation scheme will run from near the Rakaia River bridge to near the Hororata River. It will be worth approximately $144 million.

A high percentage of reliability is the key to success for irrigation.

Without it water takes are reduced or cut altogether when farms need them most.

We were in North Canterbury in March visiting farms which had had their water take cut. That was having a significant impact on grass growth and milk production.

The North Otago Irrigation scheme has 99.9% reliability thanks to minimum flow requirements on the Waitaki River and the seven dams above the supply ponding area which can store water until it’s needed.

 


Facts counter political opportunism

05/06/2013

TV3’s story on cows grazing on landfill was an example of emotion trumping facts and it provided an excuse for the Green Party to seek more publicity.

Fortunately Federated Farmers has the facts to counter their political opportunism:

Federated Farmers Taranaki is concerned the Green Party’s scaremongering over rehabilitated landfarms is putting at risk New Zealand’s number one merchandise export.

“Politicians and political parties have a higher duty when it comes to what they say or do,” says Harvey Leach, Federated Farmers Taranaki provincial president.

“The Green Party media release I saw is like going into a packed theatre and yelling fire. I think we are hitting new lows in politics when the sum total of a political party’s research effort is a television news segment.

“Unlike that party, Federated Farmers has asked questions and knows there is a double testing regime in place for rock cuttings and clays.

“Taranaki Regional Council is incredibly rigorous in what it does. The Council tests ground conditions to ensure things are as they should be. Fonterra further tests for contaminants when it collects milk to ensure integrity of the entire milk supply chain.

“The science is clear; there is no issue here. Of course you don’t want the truth to get in the way of a bad story.

“Politicians misrepresenting the truth is low-ball stuff. They are calling into question the integrity of a major regional council which is the most experienced we have in dealing with oil and gas.

“It also puts at risk our $12 billion dairy export industry by questioning the integrity of our major dairy exporters. We are being ankle-tapped by politicians who get paid by our hard work and that of other hard working kiwis. We deserve much better.

“Farmers will be predictably disappointed in the Green Party because they seem willing to throw decent hard working people under a bus to get a cheap headline. It is nasty politics spun at its worst,” Mr Leach concluded.

New Zealand has a well deserved reputation for food safety and animal health and welfare.

It could very easily be sabotaged by people and parties will to put political opportunism ahead of the facts in this manner.


Trust

05/06/2013

“Do you ever get scared when you look at your children and feel the responsibility involved in helping them grow up happy, healthy and ready for the world?” she asked?

“Of course, it goes with the territory,” she replied. “But then I think of all the people who live good lives at least as much in spite of as because of  both nature and nurture and put my trust in the children.”


June 5 in history

05/06/2013

70  Titus and his Roman legions breached the middle wall of Jerusalem in the Siege of Jerusalem.

1257  Kraków received city rights.

1305 – Raymond Bertrand de Got became Pope Clement V, succeeding Pope Benedict XI who died one year earlier.

1723 Adam Smith, Scottish economist, was born (d. 1790).

1798 The Battle of New Ross: The attempt to spread United Irish Rebellion into Munster was defeated.

1817 The first Great Lakes steamer, the Frontenac, is launched.

1829 HMS Pickle captured the armed slave ship Voladora off the coast of Cuba.

1832 The June Rebellion broke out in Paris in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy of Louis-Philippe.

1849 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy by the signing of a new constitution.

1851  Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom’s Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper.

1862  As the Treaty of Saigon was signed, ceding parts of southern Vietnam to France, the guerrilla leader Truong Dinh decided to defy Emperor Tu Duc of Vietnam and fight on against the Europeans.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Piedmont: Union forces under General David Hunter defeated a Confederate army at Piedmont, Virginia, taking nearly 1,000 prisoners.

1866  East Coast military leader and prophet, Te Kooti, was deported with Pai Marire prisoners to the Chatham Islands.

Te Kooti deported to Chathams

1878 Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary, was born (d. 1923).

1879 Robert Mayer, German-born philanthropist, was born (d. 1985).

1883 John Maynard Keynes, English economist, was born (d. 1946).

1888 The Rio de la Plata Earthquake took place.

1898 Federico García Lorca, Spanish poet, lyricist and dramatist, was born  (d. 1936).

1900  Second Boer War: British soldiers took Pretoria.

1905 Jock Cameron, South African cricketer, Wisden COY 1936, was born (d. 1935).

1915  Denmark amended its constitution to allow women’s suffrage.

1917  World War I: Conscription began in the United States as “Army registration day”.

1932 Christy Brown, Irish author, was born (d. 1981).

1933  The U.S. Congress abrogated the United States’ use of the gold standard by enacting a joint resolution (48 Stat. 112) nullifying the right of creditors to demand payment in gold.

1936 Connie Hines, American actress, was born (d. 2009).

1939 Margaret Drabble, English novelist, was born.

1941  Four thousand people were asphyxiated in a bomb shelter during the Bombing of Chongqing.

1942  World War II: United States declared war on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.

1944  World War II: More than 1000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day.

1945  The Allied Control Council, the military occupation governing body of Germany, formally takes power.

1946 Freddie Stone, American guitarist (Sly & the Family Stone), was born.

1946  A fire in the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago, Illinois kills 61 people.

1947 Tom Evans, English musician (Badfinger), was born (d. 1983).

1947  Marshall Plan: In a speech at Harvard University, United States Secretary of State George Marshall called for economic aid to war-torn Europe.

1949 Ken Follett, Welsh author, was born.

1956  Elvis Presley introduced his new single, “Hound Dog“, on The Milton Berle Show, scandalizing the audience with his suggestive hip movements.

1959  The first government of the State of Singapore was sworn in.

1963  British Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigned in a sex scandal known as the Profumo Affair.

1963 – Movement of 15 Khordad: Protest against arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini by Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In several cities, masses of angry demonstrators are confronted by tanks and paratroopers.

1964  DSV Alvin was commissioned.

1967 Six-Day War began: The Israeli air force launched simultaneous pre-emptive attacks on the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

1968  U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan.

1969  The International communist conference began in Moscow.

1975  The Suez Canal opened for the first time since the Six-Day War.

1975 – The United Kingdom holds its first and only country-wide referendum, on remaining in the European Economic Community (EEC).

1976  Collapse of the Teton Dam in Idaho, United States.

1977 A coup took place in Seychelles.

1977 – The Apple II, the first practical personal computer, goes on sale.

1981  The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that five people in Los Angeles, California have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems, in what was the first recognized cases of AIDS.

1989 The Unknown Rebel halted the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

1995  The Bose-Einstein condensate was first created.

1998  A strike began at the General Motors parts factory in Flint, Michigan, that quickly spreads to five other assembly plants (the strike lasted seven weeks).

2001  U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party, which shifted control of the United States Senate from the Republicans to the Democratic Party.

2001  Tropical Storm Allison made  landfall on the upper-Texas coastline as a strong tropical storm and dumps large amounts of rain over Houston. The storm caused $5.5 billion in damages, making Allison the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.

2003  A severe heat wave across Pakistan and India reached its peak, as temperatures exceed 50°C (122°F) in the region.

2006  Serbia declared independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

2009 – After 65 straight days of civil disobedience, at least 31 people were killed in clashes between security forces and indigenous people near Bagua, Peru.

2012 – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker became first U.S. Governor to survive a recall election.

Sourced from NZ History & Wikipedia.


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